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Carey: Real estate becoming 3rd pillar of economy

A leading real estate broker says a new chapter in Bahamian economics is unfolding.

“We have always said that tourism is the engine that powers the economy, followed by financial services and in a distant third, agriculture and fisheries,”said Mario Carey, President and CEO of Mario Carey Real Estate.”But if you look closely, you will find an important change is taking place. Real estate is emerging as the third pillar of the Bahamian economy.”

According to Carey, what makes the new norm so significant is that real estate in its broadest sense holds unlimited potential for growth, and even more importantly, he believes, endless possibilities for Bahamians.

“When you say real estate, the first thing people–even people in the business–think is buying and selling. But real estate in a broader sense is much greater than buying and selling and that is what makes it so vital to the economy,”said the broker whose clients read like a who’s who of celebrities, CEOs and leading international sports and business figures.

Carey lists areas of real estate still largely untapped, with value which is underappreciated. Among them–commercial financing and development, property management, economic benefits from second or vacation homeowners, residential and commercial brokerage, appraisal and assessment, governmental affairs, residential lending with benefits to banks and shareholders, insurance, land development, urban planning, condo hotels, mid-to-low price rentals, luxury properties with all the by-products from staffing to supplies, rental apartment complexes, parking facilities, retail, resort and infrastructural requirements including utilities to serve new properties and developments.

“We just witnessed the ground-breaking of the$3.4 billion Baha Mar resort on Cable Beach,”said Carey.”At first glance, the project might be listed as tourism, but the reality is we are talking about land, infrastructure, architectural plans, construction, financing, legal fees. It is classic real estate. What happens at Baha Mar creates other real estate needs for housing for temporary workers and homes for those with permanent jobs, maybe people who never owned a home before and their newly-achieved ability creates a demand for more mortgages, insurance, and utility hook-ups. All of this, in turn, generates millions and millions of dollars of revenue for the government in recording fees, stamp tax and, in many cases, real property tax.”

Benefits to the government should not be overlooked, said Carey, noting the sale of a$1 million residence generates an immediate$120,000 in stamp tax payable to the Public Treasury.

Carey also credits real estate as an industry with the ability to respond quickly. While his focus is on luxury properties, a young team in his office recently pointed out what they called”a gaping hole in local real estate,”starter homes or condos in secure areas for under$300,000.”By the end of the day that the story quoting them ran in the morning paper, we had calls from two different sets of developers who were ready to sit down and draw up plans to meet that market need. We have hardly tapped the potential of this industry and it is an exciting time to be involved, but as we celebrate its importance, the time has come to make additional real estate education availability and increase accessibility for all.”Carey promised to reveal those plans later.

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